20 November 2007

Spasiba bolshoi

Oksana, Madina, Iyera and Tatyana made separate cards, wrote personalized messages, created a poster, brought a cake, dressed up and recited a poem they wrote in a remarkable gesture of thanksgiving to the American Studies faculty at AUCA in Bishkek Tuesday afternoon. I don’t feel obligated but can’t pass up the chance to point out the obvious: We have some great students and the advantages of a total student population of 1,200, which is human-sized. The department will recast itself next semester with the departure of Alyona, our office manager who is moving to Russia with her young family; Shirin, a newly married fulltimer in literature for a period of unknown length, and the one-semester absence of Svetlana, a very hard-working home-grown U.S. politics and government specialist. That leaves the boys, three Yanks (Ned, Lance and Seamus) and two part-timers from Russia, Alan and Valery; Aijamal, a bright Kyrgyz woman with a year-old master’s degree in history from Ball State; and Bernadette, our chair, a German-educated Filipina dynamo.

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